Polio. That was a word that scared the living hell out of us when some of us were kids growing up. Some of us grew up before the vaccine and some of us grew up after it was introduced. But a good number of us remember lining up at school for the vaccine. It seems like everyone knew someone who had it or we went to school with someone who had been afflicted with it. A number of us remember the kids in school with the braces on the legs and walking with crutches. It was a nightmare to those who had it and scarier than the Boogey Man to those of us who didn’t have it.
A whole flood of memories came back to me today when Miss Leslie and I were talking about Izhak Perlman and his disability. I never knew until recently that he had polio as a kid and he still has the braces and crutches today. What a shocker and a reality check for me. I can’t help but think just how lucky I was as a young kid to never have this disease. I can’t help but think how lucky I was that none of my brothers or sisters had this either.
Times have changed. It’s all but eradicated here in the US. Two whole generation grew up without ever having to worry about it or seeing its effects on others. But we Baby Boomers and the generations before us remember it. I only hope to God no one ever sees something like this ever again.